It’s time again for Utah StoryCorps!


The StoryCorps mobile recording booth and Utah Public Radio visited the Uintah Basin to gather local stories. Each week, we'll bring you a new episode of StoryCorps. Tune in during All Things Considered every Wednesday and Morning Edition every Thursday.





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"God Wanted Me In Heaven": Remembering Tim Cummings

Jun 27, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Through a partnership with Dixie Regional Medical Center, 52 year old Liz Cummings and her 23 year old daughter Samantha came to StoryCorps to remember their husband and father, Tim Cummings.

Keith Bowman came to St. George to support a friend competing in the IronMan competition. While in town he looked up his buddy from a much earlier chapter in his life.  The StoryCorps recording booth was located just a few hundred yards from the finish line of the IronMan competition.  Both men are public radio listeners and were familiar with StoryCorps but when they walked up to the recording Booth that day, neither were planning to participate in an interview.  One thing led to another and within minutes they impulsively jumped into the booth and had an unexpected conversation. 

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

From astronauts and test pilots to Hollywood celebrities, retired dentist, 93 year-old Roy Nisson talks with his wife Janice about his brushes with the stars.

Three Boys On Bikes Of Kanarraville

May 29, 2014

Fred Adams founded the Utah Shakespeare Festival which is held annually in Cedar City on the campus of Southern Utah University.  In 1962 while rehearsing Hamlet for the Festival’s first season, Mr. Adams and the cast had a charming but baffling experience which is not resolved to this day.  We are hoping that you, our listeners, can help us answer a question about that summer.


Fred Adams:


"But I’ll never forget our first season. Our first plays were Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet.  And we rehearsed Taming of the Shrew every morning, and we rehearsed Merchant in the afternoon, and then we rehearsed Hamlet at night, because Hamlet need a larger cast than the other two, and so we pulled in the city post master, and a couple of clerks from JCPenny’s and that sort of thing.

We had people that had to work during the day, but really wanted to work with us at night. We set up our platform on a patio and we began rehearsing with just folding chairs and some risers as an audience. 

I noticed almost the second or third rehearsal we had, we had three little boys, I would say ages maybe ten to thirteen, straddling their bikes, sitting there on the sidelines, watching the rehearsal going on, watching us with books in our hands, watching as we blocked, as we memorized. Night after night, we tried to get acquainted with them, but they didn’t want to talk to us. We were those strange actors.  But they never missed.

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

73 year-old Laura Stratten Friel talks with her husband Don Freil about the harsh realities of growing up on a farm and living off the land.

Laura: All my life I've had to live...been forced to live in two worlds at the same time. Sometimes its added a great deal to my life and also its frustrating. When I was a young person I was confronted early with the harsh realities of life. That was my upbringing. I drank milk from the cows that I actually milked. I ate meat from the chickens and cows and sheep and deer and pigs that I actually helped to kill. I knew what a toothache was when my parents couldn't afford a dentist. I work like a man in the fields and yet I'm a small woman. I saw my family suffer after a baby's death. I ate vegetables from our own garden. And if I wanted fruit I just climbed up into the cherry tree or the peach tree or the apple tree and eat the fruit while I was playing in the tree.

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Sondra Pickering of Springdale, Utah shares how her family's love allowed her to overcome her painful, life changing accident.

Sondra: My children were left without a mother for two months. I was still nursing my youngest and just after I turned 41 we were up in the mountains and through a series of weird events a pine tree fell on me and broke my back in two places and paralyzed me.

My children were all in my husbands back hoe so they were safe but they witnessed the whole thing.

I could not believe that this could happen to me. I questioned my faith in God. I left my religion because I was so disappointed and heartbroken that something so terrible could happen. Anyway, I didn't want to live for probably a couple of years after.

I did not know how to take care of three small children and a teenager and be in a wheelchair. But anyway, actually through some things that I remember reading in a Buddist book that I had that I realized that if I was going to be released from the extreme suffering that I was going through I would have to accept it. And when I did my life became good again.

The Power Of Storytelling

May 9, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Sisters Susan Savage and Amy Jones reflect on their childhood growing up in Leeds, Utah and the power of friendships and story telling.

Susan: We grew up in a little town. We're the children of the greatest generation.

Amy: We grew up in Leeds which is 14 miles north of St. George. When we were growing up we had no television and so we had a lot more acquaintance and rubbed shoulders daily with the people we lived close to. We had space around us and were able to have animals and closer relationships with neighbors. Children out playing ball in the streets, that sort of thing which was nice, which was wonderful. I loved that.

Growing Up During The Civil Rights Movement

May 1, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

At StoryCorps, 23 year old Wesley Peterson interviewed his mom, 58 year old Diane Peterson, about growing up in Southern California during the Civil Rights Movement, and how that affected her decision to adopt him.

Wesley: First question I have for you, mom is what was it like growing up in Southern California during the 60's and the 70's. Like I know there was a lot of civil rights things happening. How did that affect you?

UPR's Kerry Bringhurst talks with her mom, Kathy Lyne Jones about being a dance ambassador for the city of Mesquite, Nevada.

Kathy: I belong to a senior dance team called The Mesquite-Toes. Our average age is 69 1/2. I have only danced with them for three years but they celebrated their 10th year anniversary this year. It started as an exercise class at the rec center. Out of the ten beginners five of them are still dancing. We took a trip this year to Palm Springs and to Knott's Berry Farm in California and then next year we are going to Alaska on another cruise. We do about 26 different dances. We have tap classes, jazz classes and clogging classes. I do like the clogging the best. I think it's the fact that you can take out all of your frustrations...stomping your feet that loud.

Kerry: Tell me about the groups favorite color.

Paving The Way For Higher Education In Rural Utah

Apr 17, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

UPR's Nora Zambreno met up with her academic mentor Glenn Wilde at the StoryCorps booth.  Glenn served as Dean of the Learning Resources Program at Utah State University and shared memories of his early career at Utah State and delivering credit classes in Utah's Uintah Basin for the Extension Class Division.

Glenn Wilde also shared memories of his hometown of Coalville and Bunny's Bar and Grill. 

Daughter Of A Legend: The Legacy Of Roy Rogers

Apr 10, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Cheryl Rogers Barnett talks with her husband Larry about her famous parent's legacy of not only fame but fighting against social norms and loving their family's differences.

Prank Phone Call Leads To Lifelong Romance

Apr 3, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

74 year old Peter Boehme and his wife Toni tell the story of the prank phone call that brought them together.

Peter: We met at the naval air base and I was working as a quasi-police officer.  I had a job of overseeing some of things, taking complaints and whatever.   

Toni:  Now in Alameda no, at that time, no good girls talked or had relationships with the navy men.  They were off limits.

Peter:  And her girlfriend's father was an officer in the navy and he was stationed on the base there. 

Toni: My friend Janice and I were babysitting and we didn't have anything else to do.  We decided to call and then they said "extension?" and we said "3-3-3."

Peter: And my phone number happened to be 3-3-3.  So, I answered the phone and talked to them and they were playful... they were having fun and so I said well  "jeez" come on out and we'll introduce you to my friend Frank and I'll show you around the base and they said "great!" Well, they had no intentions of meeting us.

Utah Shakespeare Festival: A Remarkable Journey

Mar 27, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

This year, the Utah Shakespeare Festival will begin it's 53rd season. At StoryCorps, 82-year old Fred Adams told the Festival's executive director Scott Phillips about founding the Festival shortly after he moved to the small community of Cedar City.

Scott Phillips:    Let's tell them a little bit about how this silly festival got started and what prompted us to do a Shakespeare Festival.

Fred Adams:    That's really probably one of the best stories of all. I had just come out from New York to this small community, Cedar City, Utah, back in 1959 when I arrived was a bustling community of 18,000 with a small Junior College with a couple of hundred of students is all. I was brought in, actually, to start a theater department on this Junior College. I met my wife there and as my finance, my wife and I decided that we really would like to live in Cedar City, not just spend winters teaching there. Actually, build a home there and raise our children there.

Nonprofit Organization Celebrates Decades of All-Access Adventuring

Mar 13, 2014
Martha Ham, Leslee Dean

At StoryCorps, Martha Ham spoke with her friend Janine Donald about the creation of SPLORE, a nonprofit organization that provides outdoor adventures to people of all abilities.  Janine is the current director of SPLORE, and Martha founded SPLORE as a young woman.  When the first river trip took place in 1977, the American Disabilities Act had not yet been passed and the public was not used to interacting with people with disabilities.  Martha and Janine discussed the impact SPLORE has had on not only their lives, but the lives of the program's participants.

Southern Utah University: Battles and Triumphs

Mar 6, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Former Utah State senator Dixie Leavitt and his wife Anne reminisce about their battles and triumphs in making Cedar City's Branch Agriculture School into today's Southern Utah University.  SUU's origins began in 1897 with the formation of the Branch Formal School which later became a branch of Utah State Agricultural College (USU) in 1913.  After several transitions the institution was granted university status in 1991 and was named Southern Utah University. 

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

60-year-old Royden Card, artist and poet, explores with his wife Sandee whether he chose art or art chose him.  Royden's art has been acquired by many museums including the Smithsonian Institute Library in Washington D.C. His portrayal of Zion National Park can be viewed on the 2011 UPR coffee mug.

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Hal Cannon, former state folklorist and founder of The Western Folklife Center, visited the StoryCorps booth with his wife Teresa Jordan.  He recalls his experience working with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers to preserve the material culture of Utah's pioneer past.  Cannon talks about an unexpected visit from Kate Carter, former director of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. 

Lifelong Love For The Game Of Handball

Feb 13, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

70 year old Utah State University retiree Ned Weinshenker, a member of the USU Handball Club, came to the StoryCorps booth to share his lifelong love for the game of handball, which began when he was growing up in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Ned has recently taken up indoor 4-wall handball at USU with a group of retirees.  He continues to enjoy the social and physical benefits of the game. 

StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Retired Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth talks with Amnesty Kochanowski, National Park Service Safety Manager, about the role that our National Parks parks have played in his life and the life of his family.  After 36 years of federal service Jock Whitworth retired January 3, 2014.  He plans to pursue his interests in hiking, photography and volunteering for nonprofit organizations.

Ranch Life In Southern Utah

Jan 31, 2014
StoryCorps/Utah Public Radio

Historically it is not uncommon for a Southern Utah ranching family to work several parcels of land at different elevations in order to avoid overgrazing the land.  67 year old Susan Savage, a native of Leeds, Utah talks to her friend Martha about working alone during the 90's, at her family's secluded high elevation ranch at the base of the Pine Valley Mountains.  These two ranches operate today working in tandem under the stewardship of Susan's nephew and his family.

Marlyne and Priscilla Hammon

Marlyne Hammon and her sister Priscilla, polygamist wives from Centennial Park, Arizona, talk about the Short Creek raid of 1953 which, at the time, was described as the largest mass-arrest of men and women in modern American history.

Lisa and Paul remember how they met after both had moved to St. George to work on environmental issues.  They stayed up all night talking and found they had a lot in common including preserving the environment for future generations.  They have children and grandchildren and are concerned about their future.

Paul: I went to the University of Utah after I graduated from East High School, and enjoyed the time there. I joined an army reserve unit, which seems to be an experience that changed the direction of my life, because it was a legal unit, and I saw that lawyering was very interesting. I became a trained court reporter, and was eventually accepted into law school in about 1962. I worked in the county attorney's office as a prosecutor for seven years, and then ran for the office of Salt Lake County District attorney and was elected in Salt Lake County in 1974.

The Road To Parenthood: Adoption And Miracles

Jan 9, 2014
adoption, storycorps

Teri and Rich Guy talk at StoryCorps in St. George, about adopting their daughter, Tessa.

"We got married, and after we were together for a couple years it was like, 'OK. Gosh, wouldn't it be fun to share some of these experiences with a little one?'" Rich said. "But we had a problem actually, because Teri couldn't get pregnant. It wasn't just you, because I had a low sperm count. I think... what did the doctors tell you?"

StoryCorps, AIDS, Gay rights

Rene Stoddard Fleming, 53, interviewed her father George Stoddard, 77, in the StoryCorps booth June 1, 2013. She and her father talk about the turbulence of 1991, and how that year changed George's life forever.

January 17, 1991, George arrived home from a trip to Atlanta, and received some devastating news.

"I had been an airline pilot for at Houston Airlines for 28 years and we got home and there was a voice message on my telephone which simply stated, 'Captain Stoddard, you do not have to show up to your trip tomorrow. We’re shutting the airline down tonight at midnight,'" he said.

StoryCorps park rangers

Former Zion National Park Ranger Greer Chesher talks with Barb Graves. Chesher recalls her experience surviving a flash flood in the Zion Narrows.

We hiked from Russell Gulch down into the [Narrows]. There were about six of us park rangers, all women except one.

But we hiked in there- we had a lot of rapelling to do. The weather report was fine. We were on a rappel, I was the first one over, and it was maybe 20 feet or something like that.

And so I took off my pack and set it on the canyon floor. The canyon is only about 10 feet wide, you could touch wall to wall, but about 1,500 feet deep. Just these straight canyon walls, like you're in a room. A hallway, a really deep hallway.

So I was on this rappel, I get down, take off my pack and I look up the rope at the next person who's coming down and my eyes just kept coursing up along the canyon walls until I saw the sky, which was black as night.

I just went, 'RUN!' and I ran. I turned around and ran. I put my pack back on, and ran down the canyon, because I knew we had to find a place out of there, a way out.